Monday, May 10, 2010


In 4 weeks time, I'll be flying to Europe with my sister to fulfill her dream of visiting Russia.
We will join the Viking Kirov in St Petersburg for a 13 day, 1300km cruise to Moscow called "Waterways of the Czars".  After a few days in St Petersburg, we will sail down the Neva to Lake Ladoga, along the Svir River to Mandrogy, the “Blue Route” to Lake Onega visiting Kizhi island, Goritzy, Yaroslavl and Uglich then down the Moscow canal to Moscow. 
I am hoping to find evidence of St James the Greater in Russia but, although I've done some research on the Internet, I haven't found much.
I've learned that In 1917 the Bolsheviks closed all churches and prohibited religion. Over the next few decades, more than 90,000 churches were either demolished (many blown up) or allowed to become ruins. Of the approximately 7000 that remained many became workshops, storage uits, museums or even a swimming pool - St Peter's Lutheran Church in St Petersburg.
One of the churches that fell into ruin was an Orthodox Church built in 1268, dedicated to Saint James, son of Zebedee, in the Kaliningrad region of Koingsberg which fell into disrepair and was finally demolished in 1970.
There is a church of St. James the Apostle in Kazyonnaya Sloboda, Moscow - and a Saint James the Apostle Lutheran Church in Novokuznetsk, Siberia. (I won't be visiting there!)

I found a picture of Saint James the Greater, a Russian icon from the first quarter of the 18th century, in the Church of the Transfiguration on the island of Kizhi - which we will visit on 28th June. The three-tiered Preobranzhenskaya (Transfiguration) Church is a fairy-tale structure built in 1714 without a single nail. There is a Virtual reconstruction of the iconostasis of the Transfiguration Church here  The third tier of the Kizhi iconostasis is a Dieses tier and "Jacob, son of Zavadeev" is located in the centre of the frieze.
I have also researched the Scallop shell as decoration and discovered that The Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, commissioned in 1505 and built by the Venetian architect Alevisio, has notably foreign features such as the scallop-shell decoration of its gables. Are these facies of the Italian architect, or do they represent, in any way, the Santiago shell?
And how about those scallop-shell gables on the Novodevichy Convent? I found this beautiful photograph by Yeowatzup on the website. She says: "When you visit this beautiful, quiet place right by the shores of Moskva river, you immediately feel how the sweet tranquility fills up up your entire being.
I don't know how how to describe that feeling. Some call it "holiness", others "wholeness", and buddhists call it "Nirvana", but as I said - words don't apply here, and even pictures do not. Seeing this place on a photo is not enough - you absolutely have to visit it, because only then you will literally feel 'The Force' flowing through you."
Can't wait to visit it!
I've seen a number of pictures of Faberge eggs with scallop shell designs on them but I doubt these have anything to do with the Santiago shells.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


If you are unable to carry a heavy backpack  - or are unable to walk very long distances over difficult terrain - you can still do the camino by having your pack (and yourself) transported by taxi or transport services on most of the camino routes.   In order to do this, you must have pre-booked accommodation along the way.  This means that you will not be allowed to stay in any of the pilgrim albergues that do not allow pre-booking or vehicle back-up.  However, many private albergues do allow pilgrims to stay who have backpacks transported along the route.  Have a look at the private albergues lists at Red de Albergues.  (For pre-booking accommodation in hotels, casa rurals, small inns and private albergues, have a look here.)
Many local taxis will transfer your backpack to a pre-booked establishment for a few euro.  Ask a hotel or bar to recommend a reliable local taxi service known to carry pilgrims and/or packs or contact one of the transport companies a day or two ahead of time.

Express Bourricot
People and luggage from Saint Jean Pied de Port or Saint Jean le Vieux to Logroño, or even Navarette
People: France - from St Jean pied de Port to Moissac ( ex : Ostabat, Navarrenx, Aire sur l'Adour, Condom, Lectoure, etc...)
Spain: from St Jean Pied de Port to Burgos ( ex : Roncevales, Pamplona, Logrono, Sto Domingo de la Calzada, etc...)
Taxis will transport luggage and pilgrims in the Pays Basque area.
Baggage: France - On the Chemin du Puy - d' Aire sur l'Adour to Roncesvalles. Link daily between Navarrenx and Roncesvalles.
People - From Le Puy en Velay: ex d' Aire sur l'Adour to Roncesvalles
In Spain: (Camino Frances or other destinations)
Home-back to the airport / train stations in the Midi-Pyrenees
Three sections - Transporting baggage and pilgrims
*  Le Puy to Figeac: Factage E2R -
*  Figeac to St Jean Pied de Port: Rapid Bag -
*  St Jean to Leon: Express Bourricot -

La Malle Postalle transports your luggage from stage to stage on the Chemin de Saint Jacques de Compostela between Le Puy en Velay and Conques
la.coquille @
People and baggage: Chemin du Puy - Chemin du Arles – Rocamadour
To enjoy your halt at Lauzerte to the full and to ensure that this stage goes smoothly, prepare your journey on the Lauzerte-Durfort Lacapelette leg carefully: where to stay, where to eat and buy food, transport of luggage or people, etc.
Transport for pilgrims
- Taxi Lorette 05 63 94 77 00.
- Taxi Victor 05 63 94 65 66.
Transport of luggage and pilgrims
- Taxi Bas Quercy Autos – Fréjabise Transport of luggage and pilgrims (between Montcuq and Auvillar) estimate on request.
Maryline Fréjabise – 82390 Durfort Lacapelette Tél. : 05 63 04 56 56 & 06 87 064 066,
- Rapid-Bag (from Le Puy en Velay to Saint Jean Pied de Port) 05 63 04 22 98 &


Jaca, Huesca Tel: 637 503 920

Camino Frances:

The only taxi service that covers the whole route between Roncesvalles and Santiago:

Taxi Belorado
We transport services for people, backpacks or luggage in stages over the Way from Roncesvalles to Santiago
Fco.Javier Rioja Sáez: Tlf: 947585002 610798138

St Jean to Lorgono: to Burgos: to Leon

We carry the pilgrim step by step, day by day on the Camino de Santiago - backpacks, suitcases, bikes ... anything that may make more convenient the hard work of making the pilgrimage. The site is in English, Spanish and French. Tel: 0034 610 983 205
Jacotrans Navarre Tf 610983205 Juanjo
Jacotrans Rioja Tf 636099299 Anthony
Jacotrans Burgos Tf 650451540 Luis Angel
Jacotrans Leon ..... Tf 606049858 Jose Luis

Logrono: Pamplona to Burgos:
Toni Transporte
Telefono: 636 099 299
SERVICES: ** Transport in Logroño and area from 4€ ** Transport between Pamplona and Burgos ** Luggage Transportation and Pilgrims Services on the Way of St James

 Viana to Burgos
Globetrotter Transportes
Tel: 0034 667 386 387 F: 0034 948 537 295
This company offers transport of rucksacks, bicycles etc from Viana to Burgos from April to September
Transport luggage solo 7 euro per person per step, contact us for groups
Baggage must be available to the driver at 8 am. Approximate times of taking care of luggage: Viana 7am, Logroño 9am, Navarrete 9.30, Nájera 10h, Santo Domingo 10:30 Belorado 11h, 11h Agès-Atapuerca, Burgos 12, Castrojeriz 1:30 p.m

Burgos to Leon

Luis Angel Acero Tel: 650 451 540

Castrojeriz to Leon Tel: 659 563 390 689 399 556

Leon to Villafranca del Bierzo
Public transport of bags:  En Villafranca, transporta las mochilas de sus peregrinos a Travadelo, Ruitelan, Herrerias, La Faba y O Cebreiro.

Leon and Ponferrada

Marimar Transportes - Taxi Astorga
(Tel: 606 732 207 /
Marimar Gonzalez: Covers the route from Leon to Ponferrada. The price is EUR 7 per pack and stage of 20-25 km Special prices for groups.

Leon to Santiago
Camino de Santiago 2010
Tel: 606049858 José Luis Pardo Rodriguez

Sarria to Santiago:

We have more than fifty points for collection / delivery from Sarria, passing the towns of Portomarín, Palas de Rei, Melide Arzúa, O Pino, Lavacolla and Santiago. Including Disabled transport

Palais de Rei to Santiago
Embajada del Peregrino
WE carry excess weight and deliver it to Santiago de Compostela in a specially designed box.
From Palas de Rei to Melide, Arzu O PINO etc but only in private establishments.

Mundicamino – only as a part of a pre-booked holiday.

Camino Norte
Le P'tit Bag transports bags from Bilbao to Irun.

The Peregrine Express will transfer your luggage on the Camino Norte between Irun and Santander.

If you are travelling in a big group and you have a minimum of 12 bags for transport they can transport as far as Oviedo. For information on transport past Oviedo please contact them.
Contact number: 0034644589217

Camino Primitivo
They provide:

Pick-up Service from/to Asturias Airport
Back packs and luggage transport
Support Vehicle Service
Information service for Peregrinos